Dr. Lawrence Butler
The Bridge Church, Pembroke
This is our third lesson on forgiveness, yet we still have much to consider. The word forgiveness appears in the King James Version of the Bible only 7 times in 7 different verses.
However, the present tense form of the infinitive is to forgive, and this action verb appears 56 times in the Bible in 48 different verses. Jesus had much to say about forgiveness because of its critical importance to our spiritual health and understanding of God’s plan of salvation. There are three powerful scriptures I would like to share with you today on this particular subject. “And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matt. 6:12,14,15). As we are forgiven by our Heavenly Father, so must we forgive those who need our love, restoration and forgiveness. As you have been granted mercy, so you must show mercy to others.
One of the most egregious crimes in our society today surely must be the trafficking of human beings.
Many of the people suffering in this situation are forced into some type of sexual activity. The lives of numbers of our youth have been destroyed because of this forced servitude in order that some wicked person or group of people might obtain wealth and power. The scars that are left on the psyche are so deep that recovery often seems impossible. I once had a conversation with a friend who discovered that a family member had been under surveillance as a possible kidnapping victim for just such an enterprise. The hurt and scars from such experiences are so emotionally devastating that often therapy may be needed for years. Forgiveness?
The subject cannot even be considered by victims, family or friends.
And yet forgiveness must occur.
Forgiveness does not imply that we must forget, or even act like the incidents never happened. It does mean that we must let the bitterness go. The act of forgiveness frees the victim, not the one who committed the hurtful action. The sinner will pay for his sin. The criminal must pay for his crime. But the victim must find grace from God to move on with life. Release the bitterness and desire for revenge and let those whose role is to punish do their jobs.
We must remember that our sins brought the Son of God to this earth to die for us. It was our wrongs and injustices that caused Him to be beaten and whipped, eventually being nailed to a cross to endure such agonizing pain. Every sin you committed, every inappropriate action or word, no matter how small or insignificant sent Jesus to the cross.
Yet we are forgiven when we ask.
Praise God for such a Savior. Now you must forgive in order to receive forgiveness.